New to Penguin Classics: two of the most important Buddhist tracts from Japan
Both of these works on life’s fleeting pleasures are by Buddhist monks from medieval Japan, but each represents a different worldview. In Essays in Idleness, his lively and sometimes ribald collection of anecdotes, advice, and observations, Kenko displays his fascination with earthly matters. In the short memoir Hojoki, however, Chomei recounts his decision to withdraw from worldly affairs and live as a hermit.
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Kenko (1238–?) was a monk and a noted calligrapher, remembered today for his wise and witty aphorisms.
Chomei (1155–1216), born into a family of Shinto priests, became an important poet, and at the age of fifty withdrew… More about Chomei